There is so much I'm still processing about my trip.... But here are a few thoughts that I've had since coming back.
Each night, as part of our evening devotions, team members would share their testimony. I loved listening to all the stories about God's grace, and amazed at all the very difficult trials these dear people had been through. I was overwhelmed with a sense of blessing and thankfulness for the wonderful family God has given me, the Godly husband he blessed me with, and struck by how he's protected me from so many of the temptations and sorrows of this world. I was newly humbled by God's redemption of ME, saving me from even my own stubborn, prideful heart.
Each day there were numerous Peruvian church members who came to our clinic to counsel those who visited this clinic and pray with them. It was so wonderful to have this involvement from the locals, so that this church made numerous contacts, and many prayed to accept Christ.
My best patient encounter was with this young mother who was pregnant. She already had a 2-yr-old, and was about 4 months pregnant. Because of some prenatal care she had received, she had recently discovered that she, her husband, and her young child were all HIV positive. She was obviously very upset about this, and was very worried about her unborn child. I got to do an ultrasound on her and she could see the beautiful baby growing inside her, one who was perfectly formed and knitted together. I also got to pray with her, this dear lady who I'm almost certain was already a believer, and introduce her to the nurses who come to this clinic each week. I'm certain she's going to come back there to get more prenatal care. Hopefully the clinic can help her get the HIV meds she needs to prevent transmission of the virus to her baby.
As always, I was struck by how thankful the people were whom I saw in clinic. The sweet old ladies down here would give me these big hugs and kiss my cheek, even after I gave them painful injections.
I was reminded how much I love doing prenatal care. Ultrasounds are probably my favorite thing to do in all of medicine. Many of these women had not ever had an ultrasound, and the wonder they felt at seeing their children, watching their tiny hands as they moved, seeing the little feet kick, was always evident in their eyes. One sweet younger girl asked when we could come back because she wanted to bring her dad to show him the baby.
The hardest thing for me was that I wasn't able to visit the street children's center where I spent so much time during my summers in Peru during college. I was hoping for some time to be able to go and see the boys there, but it just wasn't possible. I was reminded of how much I need to pray for them, and that the God I love, the one who has cared for me, will also care for them and save them.
I'm so thankful for this opportunity that I had, and hope I can continue doing these trips when I have time. Next time, though, Jeff has to come with me.